Preventing carpal tunnel syndrome while working from home

While working from home during the pandemic, you might have felt some numbness and tingling in your hands and fingers. After all, the average remote worker has been spending more time on the computer and doing more housework on average – in other words, a sudden increase in physical demands from their hands and wrists. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders resulting from the compression of the median nerve in the hand, causing numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand.

What is carpal tunnel?

The carpal tunnel is a small passage located between the palm and wrist that tightly houses ten structures: nine wrist flexor muscle tendons and the median nerve. The median nerve originates from the neck and makes its way down to the hand. It supplies strength for the hand muscles, and sensation to the first three fingers, and half of the fourth finger. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms occur when the tendon structures in the carpal tunnel become inflamed, therefore compressing and irritating the median nerve in the small passageway to the hand.

How to prevent or alleviate symptoms of CTS:

Median Nerve Sliders

You might have heard of the term ‘nerve flossing’. This is a variation of that, where we mobilize the nerve to prevent it from being ‘stuck’ within the many structures that it passes through from the neck to the hand.

Finger Tendon Glides

This is to mobilize the tendons that pass through and around the carpal tunnel to prevent it from stiffening and compressing the median nerve in the carpal tunnel.

Hand Squeeze for Grip Strength

This is to rehabilitate and strengthen the hand muscles supplied by the median nerve that may have been weakened as a result of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Ergonomic Improvement

Home office set-up is a common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome as one may spend an extended time on the computer with poor positioning and posture. With a physiotherapist or kinesiologist, you can have an ergonomic assessment to improve aspects of your home office together with your postural habits to minimize the risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Article submitted by Steve Wong– BHK, BScPT, Dip.Manip.PT, FCAMPT, CAFCI, CGIMS, CGTTP, TPI-MP3, TSCC-S, SFMA, TSP

Videos featuring Chelsea Chua – BKin, MScPT